Friday of the Third Week of Lent
(Hosea 14:2-10; Mark 12:28-34)
Jesus’ first commandment sounds daunting. We might ask whether we could love anyone else if we direct all our affection toward God. Even more discouraging, it may further seem that only the strictest of contemplatives can fulfill this mandate. The rest of us – priests in ministry as well as laity in the world – will have to be judged as falling short.
But these kinds of conclusions are based on the premise that love is a material quantity that gets used up over time. To the contrary, love is a spiritual entity that is multiplied by use. When we attempt to love God, we develop greater not lesser affection for God’s creation. It is true that sometimes desire for created goods conflicts with God’s will and must be rejected. But pursuing the desire would actually be loving the created good more than the Creator.